GPUSA National Green Program
HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Back to Program
American Indian and Chicano Treaty Rights
The US government must live up to the moral and legal commitments it made in treaties with Native American nations and with Chicanos when it took over the Mexican land grants in 1848. The lost lands of American Indians and Chicanos must be restored or reparations paid.
Comparable Worth: Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value
Pay tends to be substantially lower in occupations where women and minorities are the majority than in other jobs of similar responsibility, difficulty, skill, and training. Women and minorities are predominant in these job categories due to the history of discrimination and these job categories are paid less for the same reason. Women who work full-time earn only 74% of what men working full-time earn. Unequal pay for jobs of comparable worth is discriminatory. We favor federal comparable worth legislation that would develop standards for evaluating to comparability of the worth of different jobs and then require all public and private employers to evaluate the comparability of the worth of different jobs in their agency or company and adjust salary structures to create equal pay for comparable worth.
We regard heterosexism (the cultural belief that the only legitimate form of sexual expression is between men and women) as a violation of human rights and dignity.
We opposed discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity/transgender status, including in the realm of adoption, inheritance, family visitation and benefits, except in roommate/housemate situations.
We support the right of consenting adults to engage in any sexual activity and not be subject to any form of harassment, arrest, criminal prosecution, discrimination, or other negative treatment by any state, local, or federal government.
We oppose the exemption from anti-discrimination laws currently granted to small businesses.
We support legal recognition of same sex marriage.
We oppose non-consensual gender reassignment surgery, i.e., for infants.
We support individuals right to be treated as a member of there chosen gender.
We support progressive sex education in public schools, including education on sexuality and sexual orientation with parents and communities having input on what is taught.
We support a 10 percent goal of l/b/g/t teachers in public education. We call for an increase in funding for research and development on the prevention and treatment of AIDS, along with an increase in educational efforts on AIDS and its prevention. This must extend to ALL types of research. We must not continue to meekly let the pharmaceutical cartels dictate the treatments. Research must be done with the sole goal of what works best and what does the least harm and not what gives the greatest profits. Researchers must not be allowed to take bribes, bonuses, payoffs or perks from the pharmaceutical corporations.
Immigration Policy Reform
We support the traditional right of the Chicanos to move freely across the U.S./Mexico border, a right that long pre-existed the U.S. takeover of jurisdiction in the Southwest. The U.S.-Mexico border should be recognized as a zone of bi-national interdependence where people are free to move for work, shopping, and recreation.
Most immigrants come to the U.S. in response to cyclical demands in the labor market. Since labor demand drives the migration, most immigrants-legal or not-do not displace native workers. Keeping workers illegal just makes them more vulnerable to exploitation and illegal actions by employers. This makes them an attractive labor source which, in turn, increases their demand. This cycle of oppression and exploitation is the equivalent of a modern-day slave trade.
Seasonal labor demands country-wide should be allowed to be filled by foreign workers using work visas, with these workers subject to US wage, tax, and labor laws. The Employer Sanctions provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act should be repealed as ineffective. Bi-national unions and hiring halls should replace the illegal and exploitative activities of labor contractors.
People with Disabilities
The disability experience in our society is one of oppression, but it needn't be. We all have limitations, which are different at various points in our lives. Sometimes they are temporary, sometimes permanent. Some of us have difficulties with math, some with memory, others with walking or dancing, seeing or breathing. Some of us are discriminated against by the rest of society, others not. It changes in various localities and historical periods.
Some of us are born with recognized disabilities. Many of these result from economic disparities, or from some problem in the non-sustainable organization of the earth. Some of us, our parents or caregivers lack proper nutrition, health care, working or living conditions.
Others become disabled due to a variety of mostly changeable conditions--war, other acts of violence like battery or drunk driving, drugs (both prescription and so-called "recreational"), neglect, lack of appropriate medical care, or hazards in the workplace or community. How folks are treated with their limitations depends often on the ideology of the society they live in, explicit or implicit.
In early agrarian societies People with Disabilities (PWD's) were incorporated into the community based on work exchange. They might work at their own pace (as opposed to an arbitrary pace devised by management time and motion studies). Folks with physical or mental disabilities could contribute to their community in the arts, as storytellers, or by tending the fields or the kitchen. And they could eat with everyone else, and take their share of amenities.
As society developed into early capitalism, work was done for the profit of others, and workers fueled the war machine whose goal was to kill pre-determined enemies. All roles changed, including that of the PWD.
Nietzsche wrote that "the sick person is a parasite of society." PWD's were called "useless eaters" after World War I. "Crazy" relatives were locked up in attics, basements, and later mental hospitals that often paralleled prisons. People were valued only by their ability to work, to breed, and to be warriors.
The present attitude in the U.S. toward PWD's has shocking similarities with the Nazi concepts that we hold in contempt. Various sectors in society determine the concept of "normal," from schools, to church groups, to social service agencies, corporate expectations, the military, or even the Boy Scouts. Various political groups have differing ideas about who is worth health care costs and who is not.
The "Final Solution" began with the execution of "mental defectives." When society didn't protest, it escalated. Now even liberals campaign for "physician assisted suicide" at a time while support services are still not adequate, prompting some individuals and families to choose the least costly option, thus prioritizing who's life is more worthy in an unequal system.
Killing certain others quickly can be rationalized, as can killing others slowly with lack of support services. Increasing numbers live below the federal poverty line even in times of economic "boom." Tens of millions of children and adults have no health plan or ability to purchase medical care. There is criminal neglect of health and safety provisions at work from the oil refineries, to office buildings, to farm work. Home Care Workers and some hospital workers make the minimum wage, while those who do animal care make $4 to $5 more per hour!
Spraying of toxic chemicals is now used not only in wars against civilians, but against our own citizens who dare to dissent, or happen to live in an area where crops are protected from bugs at the expense of human health. Thousands of companies still pollute their workers and communities. Our government even turns its back on its own warriors, who were poisoned by Agent Orange in Vietnam, and by vaccinations and chemicals in the Gulf War. It's all a process of "thinning out the herds." But by whom, and for what?
In the '50's Jerry Lewis started his "pity program" to play on guilt to solicit donations for "crippled children." Still, people with every disease from cancer, to AIDS, to Multiple Chemical Sensitivities have to raise their own funds, find a poster-person with their disease in Hollywood or in sports, and do their own research, often in opposition to corporations like the tobacco or chemical industries.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) was passed in 1990 with much pomp and circumstance. But still there is an uphill fight for access at work and in the community even in places like Berkeley, California, the home of "crip activism."
Even after working all one's life and paying into Social Security and Medicare, most need to hire a lawyer and avoid starving for two years before possibly becoming eligible for these expected benefits. Most programs, from welfare to workers' comp, are designed more to weed out fraud, than to service those eligible.
In a more humane and sustainable society, how could PWD's fare? The health of each person could be supported by society from birth, through school, work, retirement and with dignity in death. Society could be run with the impact on the Seventh Generation in mind!
HEALTH CARE AND LIFE SUPPORT SERVICES ARE A HUMAN RIGHT!
The Greens support:
Reparations for African Americans
We call upon Congress and the President to pass and to sign into law H.R. 40, sponsored by Representative John Conyers, a bill to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequent de jure and de facto discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants, the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, and to make recommendations to Congress on appropriate remedies.
African Americans are due reparations for the cruelty and exploitation they have suffered during centuries of slavery and an additional 150 years of racist oppression and discrimination. African Americans must be compensated for the labor that millions of people were forced to give during the period of their enslavement and for the suffering and loss they have had to endure for generations due to its legacy. In Oklahoma, a biracial commission has just concluded that justice demands that reparations be paid to the victims of the Greenwood massacre. The US government must recognize this legitimate claim to reparations and begin the process of compensation.
Slavery and the slave trade in the Western Hemisphere was one of the most horrific episodes in all of human history. For hundreds of years, millions of Africans were forcibly brought to this country against their will and enslaved. Their labor, for which they were not compensated, enriched this nation. In 1860, the greatest amount of capital in the United States, larger than industrial and banking capital combined, was created by slaves. African American slave labor created tremendous wealth for America, wealth which would be valued at trillions of dollars today. And, in addition to being super-exploited, slaves were prevented by law from accumulating any wealth of their own.
After the Civil War, the freed slaves never received their promised 40 acres and mule. No program of compensation or land reform was put into place for America's ex-slaves. With the abolition of slavery, a system of legal white supremacist segregation and discrimination was put into place that continued much of the unjust economic exploitation and racial oppression of Black people, right into our lifetime. African Americans must be compensated for the suffering and losses of slavery, for the agricultural peonage known as sharecropping, for the convict labor-lease system known as the chain-gang, for the deaths and expropriation and destruction of property during white racist riots, like that which took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the 1920s, and for economic discrimination as a result of Jim Crow segregation.
People should be free from government interference in making their reproductive choices. The medical aspects of reproductive choice should be free through a federally financed universal health care system.
However, under any system of health care financing, we support:
We support paid maternity/paternity leaves, with the option of extended unpaid leave, as well as leave for the care of significant partners, children, or other family members.
We support the right of females and males to information regarding birth control, including family planning methods, and the ready availability of those methods regardless of the ability to pay.
We must encourage an environment where every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy.
We call for education concerning the ramifications to females of controlling their fertility, and we support the right of women of all ages to full reproductive freedom and to determine the degree of technological intervention, including abortion, that they deem appropriate for their own care and protection, regardless of their ability to pay.
We reject abortion as merely another form of birth control and offer full emotional support for a woman who makes this decision. We will make sure that all her options are explored so that there is no danger of abortion being used as a tool of genocide for poor communities and communities of color.
Education for both males and females should be provided on sexuality, birth control, child development, and responsible parenting.
We call for full economic support in the form of job placement at a living wage, or welfare benefits at a living income, so that no woman makes a decision on a pregnancy based solely on financial hardship.
Adoption practices should be reformed to make it more acceptable to give up a child for adoption. The reform should ensure that children are not bought and sold, and that qualified persons are not excluded on the basis of income level, sexual orientation, marital status, or race. Women who want anonymity must have this option. Women who want the child to be raised in a particular culture (e.g., as a Muslim, as a Native American) should have this option. Native children must not lose their cultural connection.
We call for the elimination of sexual harassment in the workplace and the development of public processes and follow-up procedures to address complaints.
We call for the recognition and punishment of marital rape by all states. Ongoing community support systems should be created and funded to break the "cycle of violence" that often surrounds so much of family life.
We recognize the destructive use of sexual stereotyping by advertisers, and call for education of advertisers and society on the damaging use of such stereotyping.
We support and encourage "changing men's/men's movement" activities.
We encourage men and women to relate in peaceful, cooperative, and life-enhancing ways.
GPUSA members are encouraged to participate
in the re-write of the Green Program.